Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day Ride

I have the urge to make the post title all caps - J, C and I rode 6 miles in bright sunshine.  It was nearly 50'!!!
What a fabulous way to spend Christmas afternoon.  Granted, it was a tad chilly the last two miles into the light breeze, but no one was stupid enough to complain. We'd probably have ridden longer, but unlike Thanksgiving, where the turkey could be trusted to oven-roast itself for a couple of hours, Christmas dinner was lamb, and it had to go in the oven post-ride so as to avoid baking to the consistency of shoe-leather.

Rufus, always listening for monsters overtaking from the rear
In the interest of time, I rode Rufus - he was a pleased to be out as we were, I think.  He stepped out as prettily as he's ever done, not a spook or a tense muscle to be felt although it's been a while since I rode him last.   I didn't take too many pictures, though, as I'd forgotten that Rufus isn't quite as indifferent to shutter noise as Sunny.  Whirring, beeping and clicking make him dance, and while I'm all for getting him used to unfamiliar things, I was enjoying relaxing too much to want to deal with a learning-about-the-camera-session.

We detoured cross country the first mile through a series of rough-harvested corn and close-cropped wheat fields, letting the horses lope through the latter where the footing was good.  He caught his leads promptly and sallied merrily along, in front or not, as easy as pie.  None of the sideways bouncing and diving he pulls on occasion, and he wasn't tripping over his front feet, either.  I think pulling his shoes and giving him a break agreed with him.

Happy faces all around!
 The only bad spot we had, and it was all of us, not just Rufus and me, was unexpectedly encountering a dirt-bike rider.  He gunned it out of a driveway just ahead and came straight at us down the gravel, spitting rocks and popping wheelies.  All three horses spooked and spun.  Given Rufus' penchant for ditch-diving getaways without a glance at what might be underfoot, and the proximity of a nasty old barbwire fence on that side, I hopped off to hold him.  The other two were more confident and kept their seats.

Thankfully, the dirt-biker spotted us after a few seconds and cut his speed and tricks, and headed off road into the cornfield to pass us relatively slowly.  The horses all stared suspiciously, but were willing to stand once he stopped revving and slinging gravel.

Safe back at home we gave them all a good brushing, then hopped on bareback with just halters and leads to ride them the two pastures down to where the rest of the herd was waiting.

Eyore appeared immediately to see what we were up to.
Do those ears not just scream "rub me"?

Rufus - "We're done now, right?"
I ran over to check on the boys - they were enjoying a late afternoon nap in the sun.  We did our annual Christmas ritual in which I attempt to feed them chunks of apple in the spirit of giving and they make faces and accuse me of poisoning them, after which I give up and find them each a handful or so of grain.  Then I left them to their naps and scooted for home to get cleaned up and the oven heating.  C, C and J weren't too far behind me.

In T's honor we did a semi-Mediterranean theme this year - the aforementioned lamb (for which I had to go digging in boxes to locate a meat thermometer), spicy couscous with raisins and sweet peppers, naan (which was fabulously easy and incredibly yummy), and just to muddle things nicely, roasted red potatoes and C's amazing green bean casserole.  Oh, and homemade cranberry relish/salad.  We were too full to even contemplate the pie that was supposed to finish the meal, so they're coming back over to help polish off the leftovers - and hopefully we'll make it to the pie - tonight.

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